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Amazing Grace Adams: The New York Times Bestseller and Read With Jenna Book Club Pick

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This is a redemptive narrative, conveying the complex midlife crisis, with humour and hope Take a Break 'Book Club' In a Nutshell: Started off wonderfully but then became farfetched. Some parts of it were really good but I wish the author wouldn’t have tried to throw in so many themes into a single plot. A decent debut work but not as good as it promised to be. Julie Andrews, obviously. I saw an amateur production of The Sound Of Music when I was maybe eight - and it was like I’d discovered the secret! I lobbied hard to get the star part in the class play after that and wore the teacher down. I played a missionary (it was a Church of England school), and there was no Captain Von Trapp, no singing, and no lols whatsoever, but it was my main character moment and I did not care! I would have played a piece of rotten fruit - and in fact, once did, in a local Saturday morning drama group production… The situations are (mostly) totally relatable, the raw pain and loss palpable and, at one point, I found myself stifling a sob! Grace, the main character, voices the feelings of many women, with humour and irony in the writing. The ‘out-of-control’ may feel exaggerated, but is it really? How many of us have felt out of our depth, dealing with teenagers who live in such a different world? But not from her life - towards it. To the daughter who won't live with her anymore and has banned her from the party. To the husband divorcing her. Towards the terrible thing that has blown their family apart . . .

All in all, I had expected to love this book for it promised a strong middle-aged woman protagonist who had finally had enough of everyone taking her for granted. But the potential isn’t truly realised and the book ends up as an average read for me. The writer does have a lot of promise – it is no mean task to keep three timelines blending seamlessly. But perhaps a bit of editing and finetuning would have helped, especially in the over-the-top second half. The book takes place in a single day, but is the story of Grace’s adult life. It starts on a hot summers day, when Grace snaps - she’s simply had enough. I was hopeful for a strong newly found confident woman that would find her own solutions to her current life. Not only is Grace amazing I think Fran Littlewood is too. It’s hard to believe this is a debut so accomplished is the storytelling and the creativity in some of the phrasing. This is a clever novel as on one level it’s about motherhood, family dysfunction and individual fears which is so well done it’s emotionally raw at times. They have to face huge difficulties and surmount enormous obstacles. On another level it’s about language which is what brings Ben and Grace together, it’s about a different and often secretive language of Lotte’s generation and it’s also about the inability to find the right language, the right words at the right time. The novel is rich with themes of love, hope, joy and grief. What are some examples of these themes in the book? Are there any moments that encompass all four? What lessons did you ultimately take away from Grace’s storyPrior to writing the novel, Littlewood was a financial journalist. She signed up for a creative writing MA as a “last chance” stab at a dream.

That prose should ‘look like water, taste like gin’. This is from Andrew Motion, former poet laureate, who taught me for part of my MA in creative writing at Royal Holloway. He was all about weeding out the overwriting, which I very much needed since at the time I was a ‘why use one metaphor/ simile when you can use ten’ kind of writer. Also! I love doing descriptions, everyone is definitely gonna want to read ALL these descriptions. Amazing Grace Adams tore me up, touched my heart, and resonated with me like no other book has in a long time. It's sad, edgy, heartbreaking, and yes, there's a little bit going on in this story. But who doesn't have a lot of stuff to deal with at some point in their life when one more thing may put them over-the-edge?

Featured Reviews

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love. An uplifting tour de force with a heartfelt message that will make you laugh and cry. It's the perfect January read. In her amazing Grace, Fran Littlewood has created an unforgettable heroine Irish Independent Everything was amplified and it all felt very acute. So it wasn’t difficult to get into Grace’s headspace. I wrote the book all over the house, but mostly at the kitchen table and in my bedroom. There was a moment when I was writing on the doorstep, trying to escape it all. It was a cathartic write. A cry for help!

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